Resources from Parents as Teachers

Resources from Parents as Teachers

International Research

Independent evaluation of Parents as Teachers conducted in the USA  includes 4 independent randomised control trials and 7 peer-reviewed published outcomes studies. The research has provided evidence for the program's effectiveness in its four main goals:

  • Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parenting practices
  • Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Increase children's school readiness and school success

More detail on the US research base for Parents as Teachers is presented in Parents as Teachers An Evidence-based Home Visiting Model. Please contact Jennifer Bowes at about this publication.

Some recent research highlights from the USA:

Study shows the impact of Parents as Teachers on school readiness

"...states that wait to start early childhood education until age 4 are making a huge starting at birth, Parents as Teachers starts at just the right time." 
Dr. Edward Zigler

Researchers at Cornell University find that the Supporting Care Providers through Personal Visits curriculum/training is effective

  • Read more about the results of this randomized control trial.

Ongoing research sponsored by Parents as Teachers

With grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Parents as Teachers continues to examine the effectiveness of its model.

  • The Investing in Innovation (i3) project, awarded to Parents as Teachers in 2010, provides five years of support for the implementation and evaluation of the Baby FACE program, a home visiting program serving high-needs American Indian families with children from the prenatal period through 3 years of age. A rigorous, independent quasi-experimental in 19 sites and a randomized control trial in one site will examine the number of books in the home, protective factors in the home environment, and parent perceptions of their children's social-emotional development at ages 2 and 3 and children's cognitive development and the frequency of home literacy activity at age 3.  Additional information can be found here.
  • The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) project, awarded to Parents as Teachers in 2012, will demonstrate the power of combining the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model and the evidence-informed Imagination Library program. The project will serve high-needs families with children up to age 5 living in the attendance boundaries of high needs and/or rural LEAs. An independent evaluation will focus on examining changes in parents' frequency of language and literacy-promoting behaviors, parents' increased use of library resources, children's knowledge of books and print, the number of age appropriate books in the home and the percentage of 4-year-old children who achieve significant gains in oral language. Additional information about the IAL program can be found here.

Australian Research

In 2012, The Institute of Education at the University of Canberra reported an evaluation of the Parents as Teachers program in the ACT. The evaluation involved a review of literature from ACT, Australia and overseas, analysis of 76 exit surveys from 7 years of PAT operation in the ACT, semi-structured interviews with policy personnel, 7 parent advisors and 17 parents of vulnerable children, and observation of 5 home visits.

In terms of outcomes for parents, the research found that three main aspects of program were most appreciated by parents:

  • addressing feelings of isolation
  • improving their confidence and skills in parenting
  • helping them to access other services

Features of the program praised most often by parents were:

  • value of the home visits
  • the relationship of trust built with their parent advisor
  • the support provided in accessing other services

Formal evaluation

The NSW Department of Education and Training joined with Macquarie University and UnitingCare Burnside in a collaborative research project of four parenting programs in 1998 - 1999.  The study included:-

Two Parents as Teachers school sites;

  • UnitingCare Burnside's New Parent Infant Network (NEWPIN) program at Bidwill;
  • UnitingCare Burnside's Early Start Family Learning Centre program, at Ermington

The study was a pre and post-test design with 24 families from across four sites participating at the end of 1998 and again in 1999.

The evaluation report for the two Parents as Teachers programs in NSW indicated that over one year there were:

  • Significant gains in the children's cognitive and communicative development
  • Children's interest in books and reading increased
  • Children were read to more frequently, by more family members, using an increased variety of books
  • There was a significant decrease in levels of parenting stress. Parents reported that they felt less depressed and isolated, and that the relationship with their partner had improved. 

The evaluation of the Brighter Futures Program in NSW supported the value of parenting education and parenting support programs such as Parents as Teachers in promoting positive social, emotional, physical and cognitive development for children and supporting families raising young children.

Free resources from Parents as Teachers on involving fathers in family support and education programs are available at:

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